Sunday, February 15, 2015

20th Annual South Coast Writer's Conference - Gold Beach, Oregon

It was a four day, Valentine's Day weekend, with a no student Friday the 13th followed by President's Day.  It could have been a perfect weekend to spend with my husband of 31 years, but we both had plans, 1,000 miles apart.  While he gathered his Choir students and flew to Spokane for the all Northwest Music Festival, I was headed only an hour from home, to the 20th annual South Coast Writer's Conference.  With a few miles of extra driving just to take advantage of the incredibly warm weather and gorgeous beaches between my home and 50 miles north of Gold Beach near the Bandon Cheese and Ice Cream at Facerock Creamery
 and Old Town Bandon and the best divinity and fudge ever at the Big Wheel 

Lighthouse from the Art friendly fishing Docks at Bandon

finding a valentine message on the beach

at face rock beach

 Prehistoric Gardens between Gold Beach and Bandon

 One of my favorite places is an actual wave crashing beach inside this cave
 The seaside hot tubs at my motel were dark and steamy and only me by the time the keynote address finished and I made it back.  What an indulgence.

 The view from my room, they have a lot better views in the more expensive cabins but I knew I'd mostly be out of the room, and this was only $49.00
 Here is the High School track and football field where the conference was held.  For lunch I just ambled down to walk the track.

 Book sales and conversations were plentiful after the workshops Saturday evening.

 and then I escaped just in time to catch the sunset off the jetty

 Yes th conference is great and a wonderful place to learn from other people in the book world, and the workshops I took, flu of them for an hour and a half each, were all interesting and helpful, and the contacts I've made will be good to follow up on, but this conference is over until next year around Valentine's Day.  It is inexpensive, fun, professional and worthwhile if you ever get a chance to participate

here is the post from my other blog about how I learned to overcome writer's block

Monday, February 2, 2015

Groundhog's Day

 Mostly, I want to say that I can't believe it is already one full month into 2015 and once again one of those almost forgotten holidays that still means a lot to me.  Here we have not even had winter yet.  My April flowers are blooming and there has not been one morning that I had to scrape the frost on my car window.  The grass is green and the weather ranges from high forties to mid seventies.  While I enjoy that, it makes the idea of next Autumn a bit worrisome and makes it feel doubly strange to bewitching Happy Groundhog's Day to anyone.
 But Groundhog's Day has too much meaning in my life for me to ever forget it.  My great Grandmother was born on Feb. 2, 1875 and my Nephew was born on Fev. 2, 1972 and I loved them both intensely and sobbed broken heartedly when they died, Little Grandma at 98 and Cody, far too young.  So there is a shadow on this day every year now, but also the joy of having loved so well.
 Here is the weather we have been having in one picture.

 and the skies and flowers are so, very spring-like already

 But this last weekend I did get to get on the road with a bus full of Brookings Harbor Music Students and go up near Portland, Oregon for the International Competitive Collegiate A cappella, West quarterfinal.  It was a lot of bus time but on beautiful roads and a lot of concert time, but so talented and varied that we had a great time.

 I have also just finished a nearly 3 month, long term Substitute teaching job with really wonderful students and a chance to be creative with paint and writing and kids.  My favorite kind of way to spend time.
and even though I haven't finished a new book recently, I have been back at the typing and dreaming and there has been progress on Duffy's Third trip to Uhrlin.  He still has a lot to do but this time he isn't as young or as alone.

So there you have it.  My life has been fun and creative and semi-productive.  I hope yours has as well.  Welcome to February.  And to Cody, and Little Grandma, you are remembered.

Saturday, January 17, 2015

A late welcome to 2015

I looked at this blog with the guilty realization that I did NaNoWriMo and then was exhausted by writing and stopped dead in the water.  I have been teaching full time, and being a Grandma to 8 month old Daisy, and giving a lot of rides to her parents who have two jobs and their own apartment but no car yet.  Don't mistake me, getting to see my son's family every day is not a chore or a curs.  It is a delight and a blessing, but it does take time I might have been writing - OR NOT.

Sometimes I think the creative mind needs to switch off at time and spend those down periods gathering info and letting ideas simmer on the back burner for awhile.

recently that creative side has become bored by inactivity and is stretching and begging to get moving again.  I just read a study that said kids need to spend time bored before they really ever turn on the creative thinking.  I believe that and I think it is true for all of us.  It is why the school's use of scripted lessons which fill every minute concerns me.  

Do you ever want to do something that terrifies you? Well, I love to have strangers read my books and post reviews, but it is scary to have friends do the same. So for February my book club (which just read Orphan Train and The Invention of Wings) is going to not only read my book, but come to my house to eat dinner and discuss it. Those who know me know I don't do the hostess thing. Unless you feel like family you don't come in the door usually. It's a old house decorated in Early American Yard sale and painted in Crayonbox colors to hide the termite damage. But I already invited them and who would have guessed they'd agree? YIKES!…/…/ref=sr_1_3…

 As always in winter here, it has been gloomy and rainy interspersed with brilliant sunrises and blue sky and green grass.  I haul the firewood every now and then but it is often not even cold enough to need to heat the house.

If you have been feeling low energy and possibly guilty about it, remember to be kind to yourself.  It is OK to let yourself sit plugged in to the chatter and appear like nothing is getting done for awhile.

Friday, November 7, 2014

Isn't it fun to Nano?

Many moons age, I think back in 2008, when I first discovered the concept of writing a novel in the 30 days of November, it sounded crazy.  But I did it, and then repeated it some more.  Now I love writing that quick and unedited 50,000 words. I know the book is a long way from finished by then. I know it has taken me at the very least, a year, to add enough more to the story, cut the things that don't work, check that I spell characters names the same all the way through, make sure my story actually follows the map, edit the spelling and punctuation and design a cover.  Still the freedom of just sitting down and telling a story, is what I love the most.

This month I am not starting from scratch, but starting at a point where I have two novels I've been working on, and adding a total of 50,000 new words to them.  I am hoping to find out why Duffy and his Aunt and sister have been thrown into the midst of storms and battles and a plague and why I have at least 7 threads going that don't seem to have a resolution yet.  I feel like my characters know more at this point than I do and are all standing around begging for my attention to their story.  Ay least seven voices in my head saying, "Pay attention, This is what happens next!"

That still isn't crazy.

Crazy are those people doing the novel in a day challenge.  50,000 words in 24 hours?


but they keep doing it

Monday, October 13, 2014

Goodereads Giveaway Winners announced

If you signed up for a chance to win one of my picture books through the Goodreads Giveaway program, Thank You.  I was offering 4 copies each of both picture books and I was overwhelmed by how many people thought they looked interesting enough to go through the hoops required to sign up. 1727 people total. Unfortunately there could be only 8 winners.  I wish I could afford to share more now, as I think of each copy out there in the worlds a hard working ambassador, teaching kids to love books and telling the world to look at what else I have written.

 For the Rainbows Around Us book of colors

The Winners are

Kathryn D. of Merseyside GB
Wheeler C. of Espanola NM
Arvinder S. of West Midlands, BG
Jan B. of Everett, WA

And the winners for Moonrise are

Alan B. of West Sussex GB
Kkritika V. of Haryana India
Greg D. of West Midlands GB
Christina D. of Hamilton, New York

Again, Thanks to all who participated and spread the word.  Now hoping for at least a couple book reviews posted.  Fingers Crossed.